Weekly INT Boost – The APA Wants to Help Us Shed Some Election Stress

Image credit: Cris Saur.  The koala knows that it's time for a break, folks -- we could all use a little extra self care.

Image credit: Cris Saur. The koala knows that it’s time for a break, folks — take a little extra time for self care if you need it this weekend.


Welcome to our roundup of some of the best mental health articles you may have missed. This week, we have tips for dealing with election fatigue, an outstanding story about neural networks and the way we grieve, and a meditation on the reasons to write openly about our mental health issues, among others.


People Are So Stressed by This Election That the American Psychological Association Has Coping Tips

“In August, the American Psychological Association included a question in its annual Stress in America survey about this election. It released the results of that particular query on Thursday, and it found that more than half of U.S. adults, regardless of party, felt very or somewhat stressed by the election.”

This week, The Washington Post has some advice for surviving this exceptionally tense election season with your emotional health intact. Recent events have been particularly difficult for some of us — so it might be good to talk to someone if you’re feeling overwhelmed.


Video Game Voice Actors Crunch Too

“What most players don’t realize is that voice actors also work under extreme conditions to ship a big budget game. They might not work as many hours, but at the end of the day they can often come home with headaches and sore throats, unable to do anything but lay down and rest.”

Healthy game development practices are important to us here at Take This. Voice actors are rarely considered to be part of the crunch environment, but as Motherboard explores, it affects nearly everyone in the industry. When our best burn out, mentally or physically, it’s a huge loss for all of us.


Brain Game Claims Fail A Big Scientific Test

“Want to be smarter? More focused? Free of memory problems as you age? If so, don’t count on brain games to help you. That’s the conclusion of an exhaustive evaluation of the scientific literature on brain training games and programs. It was published Monday in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest.”

NPR has news of a recent review that found little evidence that brain training games can provide overall improvements to memory or cognition. There are possible exceptions, but generally speaking, popular brain games may not do us much good.


Why Starbucks Canada’s Investment in Mental Health Therapy Matters

“The coffee chain announced Wednesday that it will give $5,000 a year to its employees to cover the cost of therapy, up from $400. The decision creates one of the largest pots for this kind of coverage in the country. It’s earning praise from mental-health advocates, for removing the nickel-and-diming from a valuable treatment and being touted as a smart business decision by benefits experts, an example to other companies competing to keep happy their millennial work force.”

While Canadians have a universal health care system to rely on for most things, mental health care is generally not covered, and private insurance tends to cover only a small number of sessions each year. Starbucks Canada is upping the ante for employer mental health benefits, with a move that will hopefully inspire other companies to follow suit.


Speak, Memory

“Reading Mazurenko’s messages, it occurred to Kuyda that they might serve as the basis for a different kind of bot — one that mimicked an individual person’s speech patterns. Aided by a rapidly developing neural network, perhaps she could speak with her friend once again.”

What if you could create a bot of a lost loved one? The Verge shares an astounding story that suggests that neural networks may utterly change the way we grieve in the future.


A Midweek Meditation on Kid Cudi, Isaiah Rashad and Banks Addressing Mental Health

“There isn’t a guide on how to tell your boss that you’re going to be running a bit late, thanks to a panic attack. No how-to’s on how to mend relationships that are damaged by mental illness. None of that. In honor of World Mental Health Day, I am meditating on Kid Cudi, Isaiah Rashad and BANKS, all of whom were brave enough to speak on their battle with depression.”

Several artists have recently opened up about their mental health issues. Live FAST looks at the impact of those disclosures.


Why I Write About My Mental Illness Online

“It’s amazing how kind people are outside of the comment section. Strangers are telling me intimate secrets, describing their struggles, railing against stigma, and asking me for advice. It’s weird for me. In my ten years as a writer, I’ve mainly worked as a piss-taker or a piss-poor poet—no one has asked me for tips regarding my Media Watch spec-fic. For a manic egotist, it’s an oddly humbling experience. All I can say to these people is ‘hang in there’and ‘you are not alone’ and—most important—’you’re right, it is shit.’ The message I get most frequently saddens me and encourages me in equal measure: ‘How can you be so open about this? How can you share this? I am afraid to tell my loved ones, let alone the internet.'”

A VICE writer reflects on the complicated decision to be open about his mental health issues. It’s not always an easy road, but opening up can make a difference, particularly for those who feel they have to stay silent.


With that, we’re off for the weekend. The Take This team is ramping up preparations for PAX Australia, and we could use your help. We’ll be back on Monday with more great stories. Until then, take care of yourselves — and each other.